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Accident Report Detail

 
Derailment and Collision of Amtrak Passenger Train 66 with MBTA Commuter Train 906 at Back Bay Station

Executive Summary

At 8:23 a.m. on December 12, 1990, National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) passenger train 66, consisting of a two-unit locomotive, two material handling cars, five passenger cars, one dining car, and two baggage cars, derailed and struck Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) commuter train 906, consisting of one locomotive, six passenger cars, and one control car, as both trains entered Back Bay station in Boston, Massachusetts.

Operated by an apprentice engineer, Amtrak train 66 was traveling 76 mph, within a 30-mph speed restriction, on a 930' curve when it derailed and struck MBTA train 906 on the adjacent track. A fire ignited after the collision. On Amtrak train 66, 7 crewmembers and 43 passengers sustained injuries, on MBTA train 906, 5 crewmembers and 391 passengers were injured, and 7 firefighters sustained injuries Estimated damage exceeded $12.5 million.


Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the failure of the apprentice locomotive engineer to reduce speed in sufficient time to negotiate the curve into Back Bay station as a result of inadequate supervision provided by the locomotive engineer. Contributing to the accident was Amtrak's failure to provide adequate quality control oversight for its locomotive engineer training program, including the adequacy of selection and training for apprentices and selection and training of engineers who serve as supervisors to apprentices during on-the-job training. Also contributing to the accident was Amtrak's failure to have advance warning devices for a speed reduction for the curve entering Back Bay station.


Accident Location: Boston , MA    
Accident Date: 12/12/1990
Accident ID: DCA91MR003

Date Adopted: 2/25/1992
NTSB Number: RAR-92-01
NTIS Number: PB92-916301

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